Ansomat logo
    Ghent, Belgium
      Customer Objectives:
      • Reduce time-to-market and solution complexity for end-users 
      • Increase end-user operator skillsets to address variable, complex tasks 
      • Develop more scalable, customizable EV battery assembly guidance solutions  
      Key Results:
      • Reduced training time for end-users from three months to one week 
      • Decreased EV battery-related claims from one customer by 90% 
      • Lower scrap rates through reduced operator errors at end-user facilities 
      Cognex Solution:

      The never-ending race toward safer, higher-performing electric vehicles (EVs) drives innovation throughout the supply chain. Manufacturers and integrators are developing new processes and working with new components, which creates new standards and challenges for an already complex automotive industry.

      More auto and EV companies are turning to contract manufacturing and high-mix, low-volume work – producing many different types of parts in small quantities – to facilitate the transition to EVs. In turn, these contract manufacturers and high-mix, low-volume companies need to upskill, drive efficiencies, and reshape solutions – fast.

      “Originally, low-batch products were very customized, which means that the operator had a lot of the product knowledge,” said Mathieu Van Parys, Ansomat’s co-founder and head of Research and Development. “Every product can be unique, and every operator can handle the product differently; all that setup time adds up fast.”  

      Ansomat is a leading provider of assembly guidance solutions. Their innovative operator guidance system, Ansomatic, enables operators to perform complex tasks with minimal training without mistakes. The solution presents the operator with directions and uses machine vision to analyze the operator's action. Then, Ansomatic instructs the operator on the next part of the process using augmented reality, videos, drawings, and other media.

      “People are visual learners, so this information sticks with them better, and less-skilled workers are more likely to understand what processes need to happen,” said An-Sofie Van Parys, Ansomat’s head of business development.

      Instead of pulling an operator off the line for classroom or virtual learning, she said, users get immediate on-the-job training and upskilling, contributing to higher throughput and minimizing opportunities for error.

      Driving Innovation with Family Dynamics

      Ansomat is a family-owned company, and it shows. Siblings An-Sofie and Mathieu, the namesake of Ansomat, are in constant collaboration.

      Founded in 1996 by the Van Parys’ parents, An-Sofie and Mathieu evenly divide roles like siblings allotting chores.

      “We are super complementary, “An-Sofie said. “I’m completely non-technical and focus on sales and marketing, and he's really good with everything related to technologies, product developments, and finance.”

      The company began as a software feature for torque tooling. They’ve since addressed assembly verification and operator guidance challenges for nearly every part of an automobile, from fuse boards to grills. Ansomat has expanded into other industries, too, including electronics and aerospace.

      “My favorite part of the job is the products we work with,” Mathieu said. “The reward comes from feeling like you can improve on innovation a bit and help customers develop advanced products."

      The drive toward innovation is evident throughout the company. Many competitors utilize 3D sensors to look at hand gestures, An-Sofie added. While these confirm process steps, they don’t validate actions or inspect products.

      "We selected Cognex’s In-Sight Vision Suite since it was easy to program, even for users without engineering knowledge,"

      ―An-Sofie Van Parys, Head of Business Development

      Accelerating EV Battery Pack Assembly with Edge Learning

      For a recent EV battery assembly project, Ansomat experimented with different types of machine vision. Their customer, one of Europe's largest EV battery producers, wanted to develop an efficient way to configure their various battery modules so operators could quickly install them into a battery pack. Each type of battery pack consisted of a Tetris®-like configuration of modules, Mathieu said, so scaling the assembly operations was a difficult task.

      Since Ansomat designs each solution for usability, An-Sofie and Mathieu needed to be sure they could use the machine vision technology just as easily as the customer.

      The machine vision solution needed to capture an image of the module configuration, and confirm an operator assembled it correctly. In addition, Ansomat needed to ensure different electrical connections and components were intact.
      The Ansomat team also took advantage of online training courses and documentation and relied on their account engineer for additional support.

      “With another solution, you needed to follow thorough training, and even then, it was almost impossible to learn. It was so difficult to set it up and find your way,” An-Sofie said. “That’s a big difference with Cognex – you don’t feel like just a number. They quickly introduce you to whomever it takes to get you going.”

      Ansomat decided to move forward with the In-Sight 3800 because of its robust vision technology and edge learning tools. The In-Sight 3800 was able to capture clear images quickly in real-time, even in low-contrast lighting conditions. Edge learning tools enabled the solution to account for different types of module configurations and processes.

      In the short term, Cognex helped Ansomat’s EV battery manufacturing customer significantly reduce pack assembly time and decrease scrap rates by minimizing opportunities for error.

      In the long term, Cognex has supported the company's overall goals. What customers need, the future of Ansomatic, and solving new challenges are always on the minds of the Van Parys siblings.

      "There's a lot of research and development commitment from Cognex. New solutions help us better serve our customers,” Mathieu said. “Edge Learning is an exciting technology. The combination of tools and how Cognex delivers on market-required solutions was a great thing to see.”

      Ansomat leverages these new technologies, exploring ways to help customers get products to market faster, reduce training times, and decrease scrap rates. They’re also constantly looking for new ways to apply their services and technology to new markets, new regions, and new applications.

      “Cognex is a critical part of the Ansomatic operator guidance solution,” An-Sofie added. “Where digital work instructions facilitate how to do the right things, Cognex machine vision empowers operators to do things right.”

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